Liverpool leads national commemoration of Arctic Convoys
A national service to mark the 80th anniversary of the Arctic Convoys is taking place in Liverpool on Thursday 12 August.
The event, at Liverpool Parish Church, will be followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Arctic Convoy memorials in St Nicholas’ Church Gardens.
The service will led by the Rector of Liverpool, the Revd Canon Dr Crispin Pailing, and guests – including UK and foreign dignitaries – will be welcomed by Mr Mark Blundell, the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, and Cllr Mary Rasmussen, the Lord Mayor of Liverpool.
After the service, they will be shown Western Approaches, which was established in February 1941 with the primary objective to provide protection for the convoys and control their journeys to and from the UK.
The visit will conclude with a reception for 150 guests at Liverpool Town Hall where two veterans of the Arctic Convoys will be amongst those receiving a presentation from the Lord Mayor.
The event is being held on the 80th anniversary of the first convoy leaving Liverpool on 12 August 1941 at the beginning of Operation Dervish.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas, Wendy Morton MP, said: “The Arctic Convoys displayed exceptional bravery in some of the most challenging circumstances in the Second World War.
“Today, on the 80th anniversary of the first Convoys’ departure from Liverpool, we honour all those who served and pay tribute to their heroism and sacrifice.
“They played a major role in the shared history between the UK and Russia and the ultimate Allied victory.”
Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Mary Rasmussen, said: “It is a privilege to welcome so many distinguished visitors to the city to commemorate such a significant event.
“We pay tribute to those who sailed in the Arctic Convoys, but also celebrate the bonds of friendship and cooperation between nations.”
The Rector of Liverpool, the Reverend Canon Dr Crispin Pailing, who will lead the service, said: “Liverpool was the focus of all the planning of operations for the Convoys: the memorial to the Convoys at Liverpool Parish Church have been a place for reflection and commemoration for many years.
“I hope the anniversary events are an opportunity to stand together once again for a peaceful world.”
Lieutenant Colonel G A Balmer RM, Deputy Naval Regional Commander, said: “In amongst a war of national survival, the operational and logistical challenges for the Arctic Convoys were tremendous and we should all admire the courage of both the Merchant Fleet and the Armed Forces as they faced the harshest conditions imaginable.
“From a local perspective, it demonstrated the depth of support the City of Liverpool has always, and will always, give the Armed Forces.”